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30 August 2014 @ 04:03 pm
boning at the sidefront  

Hi everyone!

I'm currently almost ready with the Truly Victorian Edwardian (yes) corset, but I ran into a conundrum I've been puzzled by for quite some time....So I thought I'd ask the experienced and knowledgeable.

If you look at pictures of edwardian corsets and edwardian mannequins, the hips often jut out rather sharply from the waist, it's much more an angle rather than a gradual slope like there is in victorian corsets. I've seen this in reproductions on real bodies as well (icluding corsets made from the TV pattern), so it's not just an idealized but unrealistic shape.

Now, most corsets have at least a couple of bones at the side-front area, and the TV pattern recommends this as well. I had a very nice angle before I put the bones in (flat steel from sewcurvy, 6 mm, quite light and flexible) but once they're in, the angle, quite naturally, turns into a more victorian slope. My question is: how would you remedy this? The obvious answer is of course to use spirals in that area, but I've almost never seen spirals being used in edwardian corsetry. I guess leaving the bones out there would help the shape, but it leads to the fabric collapsing somewhat and the originals didn't do this and rather than improvising some workaround I want to know how it works in the context it's supposed to work in! I'm curious like that!

Does anyone, perhaps someone who's handled antiques, know what they did to make this work? The other two things I'm thinking of is that their boning was more flexible than ours, and/or they pre-bent it to the shape.

Thanks for any replies, and you'll get pictures once the corset's finished. :)

unclrashidunclrashid on August 30th, 2014 02:37 pm (UTC)
I don't know about the TV corset, but many corsets of the time period used whalebone, and the the entire corset was place on a mannequin and steam-molded into shape.

I looked at some pics of the TV corset, and it may be that what you think is the hip justting out is really more of the bum jutting out. Many of the pics are taken at a 3/4 angle so you are seeing the curve of the waist/behind rather than waist/hip.
tielketielke on August 31st, 2014 10:45 am (UTC)
Well, I think whalebone was getting more scarce at that time and only the most expensive corsets still used it. I've never heard of cane being used in S-curves. Mostly descriptions of these corsets say they're boned with steel, but perhaps they do use something else (or spirals) at the sides and it's just not mentioned?

The bum helps in 3/4 pics, that perspective is really cool in this corset! But I did have the dramatic bend at the waist from the front as welll...
tielketielke on August 31st, 2014 10:53 am (UTC)
I also went through the archives here and found a post about someone who had an antique post-edwardian longline. The owner mentioned the (steel) boning was very flexible, so I'm inclined to think the secret's in the weight and quality of the steel...Though I still want to hear different options and opinions! :)
Annarabid_bookwyrm on September 2nd, 2014 12:06 am (UTC)
You can end the side bones right at the waist - at or just above the seam for the hip gore. I'm not going to be able to pull any examples out right now (sorry), but that was definitely a thing they did.

I think there are a few in Jill Salen's Corsets with that style boning. If that extremely brief description didn't make sense, I can try to find some photos.
tielketielke on September 2nd, 2014 03:22 pm (UTC)
It does make sense! Though I would be worried about the bones digging in, and again, I'm not sure it was done on corsets of the time period I'm referring to. If you do have pics of 1901-1910s corsets where the boning stops at the waist, I would love to see them, if it's not too much of a hassle, that is. :) I'll check Jill Salen as well, thanks for the tip!
Annarabid_bookwyrm on September 3rd, 2014 04:54 am (UTC)
Salen, Pretty Housemaid, 1890
Salen, Khaki Corded Corset, 1890-1900

Metropolitain Museum of Art 1908

And V&A, 1864 is much earlier, but a good example of the boning cutting off at the hip gore.

I don't think it would dig - it's not like ending the corset there, you don't have a sudden, awful release of pressure at the waist. There are still bones running the full length, and the fabric is still going to be pulled taut and smooth over the waist and upper hip.

Honestly, my best advice is to browse the various museum archives or other image hosts - you get a pretty good idea what they were up to in terms of boning patterns, pretty quickly.
tielketielke on September 3rd, 2014 10:44 am (UTC)
Thank you! The Salen examples are really too early for what I'm looking at. The 1908 one is interesting, but the boning at the sides still seems to run all the way down (I shouldn't have said side front really, what I meant was really the seam just in front of the side), as it does in practically every other early 1900s corset I've seen (and believe me, I'm obsessed enough to have looked around everywhere :p).

I did have another look at the met, and more specifically, I checked out the "medium" section. Lots of the corsets mentioned "bone" apart from steel. Not sure if they mean whalebone or something else, but this seems interesting. I also checked catalogues and many still mentioned whalebone, so perhaps it wasn't yet as scarce as I thought.

I also thought this post was pretty interesting: http://www.sparklewren.co.uk/blog/smaller-ever-smaller/19/4/2014
It kind of seconds the post on here which I mentioned above (http://corsetmakers.livejournal.com/?skip=50&tag=timeline%7C1900-1920%20edwardian%20corset). So whether it's about (whale)bone or more flexible steels, I still think the secret's largely in the materials. Having tried the corset on, my steel is already taking on the shape, so perhaps it will become curvier over time, and if not then I'll probably have to resign to the fact that more flexible flat steel isn't available ATM and spirals would be the best approximation.

Oh and sorry for being so difficult and kind of being the devil's advocate. Your replies do make a lot of sense and would be perfect for a modern corset, but I'm really wanting to get to the bottom of what happens in antique corsets, and our modern solutions don't quite seem to coincide with theis. But I do really appreciate the input! :)